I suppose the difference is this: Before I saw my family with my eyes, and now I see them with my heart. It's very different, you know. Now that I'm using my heart to see, I stop what I am doing. I use all my senses. For that little space in time, I truly see. I enjoy. And I revel in that moment. I delight in the experience, and in that person that I love so much.
Now? I notice how Emmy's eyebrows raise when she is telling me something she is excited about. Or the way she shakes her head up and down to make her point. I've realized that when Emmy speaks, she speaks with every fiber of her being! Like the other day when she told me, "Mom, I had the asthma this morning, uh-huh I did (eyebrows raised, head bobbing up and down.)!" When I asked her how she knew, she told me "because I coughed, and then out came the asthma."
I capture the sparkle in Claire's eyes when we are playing a game of pretend. (Most often she is barking orders at me. That makes any three-year-old's eyes sparkle, I suppose.) I delight in the touch of her hand while we walk from place to place. I like to look at her wispy blond hair and the little freckles that scatter across her nose. Her little body is at that in-between stage: not anymore a baby, but not yet a big kid. Soon the last little bit of the chubbiness will be gone. This stage of adoringly-cute but maddeningly-independent will too soon be over, and I'm so glad I'm not missing it.
I secretly smile to myself when I see the sly grin on Kate's face when she is ignoring me. She is the expert on ignoring people: She stares straight into her book, being ever so careful to not turn her head. Her quest: to in no way acknowledge the speaker. Absolutely no response at all. But if I say something silly instead of getting angry in order to get her attention? She still ignores me like a champ, except I can see a silly grin sneak onto her face. I like that cute little sly grin, especially if I am responsible for make it happen. Or how about the utter excitement I witnessed the other night as she tried on her Halloween costume? She is to be a queen, and she couldn't be happier about it. My heart was thrilled to hear her squeal "This is the best! dress! ever!"
Last night I laid in bed and loved having Courtney sleeping next to me. His hand was around my waist and I didn't want to move an inch because it made me feel happy and cozy. There is nothing better than hearing him laugh at something I say. I like sharing secrets with him. And I love the way his whiskers feel on my cheek after work.
I love the hundreds of little faces that Samuel pulls. And the way he smells. And the way he cuddles into my shoulder. His first grins. Or the way the girls squeal "He is sooooo cute!" when they look at him. What if I had missed all of that?
I'm seeing Ryenne grow up. This year is a different world for her. Sixth grade! I love listening to her excitement as she talks about her new friends, plans her clothes (a week ahead!), and practices her flute. Last week she turned off all the lights for us and we sat in the dark while she played her "spooky song". And last night, when Courtney told her Grandma wanted her to come up today to climb the apple tree and pick apples for her, do you know the first thing she said? "Okay. I'll want to wear my hair down then." Huh? At our confused expressions, she quickly explained, "Oh, you know. So the branches don't mess it up." I love that I'm here for those funny growing up moments. (except maybe the foot stomping, irrational, slamming the door moments. although they are sometimes funny too.)
Oh, and the fifteen pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I've eaten today. Glad I didn't miss those either.
I would be so sad if I had missed Emmy's discovery and adoption of "Junior", her pet fuzzy caterpillar. And the way she takes such responsibility in changing his leaves every day. Or the look of delight I saw on Claire's face the other day as she sat on the middle of our kitchen table with the sunlight on her hair and inspected Junior (with Emmy looking on to ensure his safety, of course). Best of all? The other day I found Emmy and Kate sitting in Samuel's room, surrounded by sewing supplies and piles of fabric. What were they doing? Making a Halloween costume for Junior, of course. Silly me. I've chuckled about that ever since.
I'm discovering that every day holds hundreds of little moments that I am ever so grateful to be here to experience. The other day a friend stopped by with a little note that included this statement, "It seems we never appreciate the little things until they become the BIG things." I read and reread that a few times trying to understand her meaning.
This afternoon, I thought about how I am finding such joy in my family right now. I enjoyed them before, but now I joy in them. They have truly become the biggest thing in my life.
Six or so weeks ago, I faced the very real possibility that I wouldn't be coming home again. I wondered if I'd have to watch my children grow from heaven (at least I hoped I'd be there!) As Courtney and I have talked, I have told him that it wasn't that I was afraid to die. That really wasn't it at all. It's just that I didn't want to. I looked at the possibilities and knew in an instant that the place I wanted to be the very most was right here. In my home.
Doing all the BIG things.
What are the big moments you've enjoyed with your family today? Take a day and watch for those little moments. . .see them with your heart. I'm pretty sure you'll agree with my friend and I. The best days are those in which the little things become the big things.